Recently i watched Angels and Demons and there I came to know of anti-matter. I already knew that anti-matter can be made to act like a bomb, but i didn’t knew that it will be generated in the collisions in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider . So here’s a report on what is Anti-Matter and can it really be produced.
Antimatter sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and it is. But it’s also very real. Antimatter is created and annihilated in stars every day. Here on Earth it’s harnessed for medical brain scans.
“Antimatter is around us each day, although there isn’t very much of it,” says Gerald Share of the Naval Research Laboratory. “It is not something that can be found by itself in a jar on a table.”
So Share went looking for evidence of some in the Sun, a veritable antimatter factory, leading to new results that provide limited fresh insight into these still-mysterious particles.
Simply put, antimatter is a fundamental particle of regular matter with its electrical charge reversed. The common proton has an antimatter counterpart called the antiproton. It has the same mass but an opposite charge. The electron’s counterpart is called a positron.
Antimatter particles are created in ultra high-speed collisions.
One example is when a high-energy proton in a solar flare collides with carbon, Share explained in an e-mail interview. “It can form a type of nitrogen that has too many protons relative to its number of neutrons.” This makes its nucleus unstable, and a positron is emitted to stabilize the situation.
But positrons don’t last long. When they hit an electron, they annihilate and produce energy.
“So the cycle is complete, and for this reason there is so little antimatter around at a given time,” Share said.
Antimatter is difficult to produce – all the antiprotons produced at CERN during one year would supply enough energy to light a 100 watt electric bulb for three seconds!
In terms of the energy put in to produce high energy proton beams and store them, the efficiency of the antimatter energy production process would be 0.00000001%. Even the steam engine is millions of times more efficient!
From wikipedia about antimatter
In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles. For example, an antielectron (a positron, an electron with a positive charge) and an antiproton (a proton with a negative charge) could form an antihydrogen atom in the same way that an electron and a proton form a normal matter hydrogen atom. Furthermore, mixing matter and antimatter would lead to the annihilation of both in the same way that mixing antiparticles and particles does, thus giving rise to high-energy photons (gamma rays) or other particle–antiparticle pairs.
There is considerable speculation as to why the observable universe is apparently almost entirely matter, whether there exist other places that are almost entirely antimatter instead, and what might be possible if antimatter could be harnessed, but at this time the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this asymmetry between particles and antiparticles developed is called baryogenesis.
About The Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing particle beams, of either protons at an energy of 7 TeV per particle, or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus. The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetry. It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as much as 175 metres (570 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. On 10 September 2008, the proton beams were successfully circulated in the main ring of the LHC for the first time. On 19 September 2008, the operations were halted due to a serious fault between two superconducting bending magnets. Due to the time required to repair the resulting damage and to add additional safety features, the LHC is scheduled to be operational again no sooner than September 2009
Construction accidents and delays
So when the collision starts it would also produce antimatter but it would not be able to produce a huge amount as displayed in the movie. And actually CERN is already producing anti-matter at their other labs. But as said earlier all antimatter produced in a year is just enough to give 100watts of energy and that could not possibly blow up the planet.
We hope CERN LHC would not do accidents and stealing some canister of antimatter would not be that easy as depicted in the movie Angels and Demons. But we have a list of other accidents that happened at LHC over the years.
Accidents and faults on LHC
* On 25 October 2005, a technician was killed in the LHC tunnel when a crane load was accidentally dropped.
* On 27 March 2007 a cryogenic magnet support broke during a pressure test involving one of the LHC’s inner triplet (focusing quadrupole) magnet assemblies, provided by Fermilab and KEK. No one was injured. Fermilab director Pier Oddone stated “In this case we are dumbfounded that we missed some very simple balance of forces”. This fault had been present in the original design, and remained during four engineering reviews over the following years. Analysis revealed that its design, made as thin as possible for better insulation, was not strong enough to withstand the forces generated during pressure testing. Details are available in a statement from Fermilab, with which CERN is in agreement. Repairing the broken magnet and reinforcing the eight identical assemblies used by LHC delayed the startup date, planned for November 2007.
Sister project Wikinews has related news: CERN says repairs to LHC particle accelerator to cost US$21 million
* Problems occurred on 19 September 2008 during powering tests of the main dipole circuit, when an electrical fault in the bus between magnets caused a rupture and a leak of six tonnes of liquid helium. The operation was delayed for several months. The LHC is expected to be restarted at the end September 2009 with first collisions happening in October. It is currently believed that a faulty electrical connection between two magnets caused an arc, which compromised the liquid-helium containment. Once the cooling layer was broken, the helium flooded the surrounding vacuum layer with sufficient force to break 10-ton magnets from their mountings. The explosion also contaminated the proton tubes with soot.